SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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The global climate change-induced abiotic and biotic stresses are predicted to affect crop-growing seasons and crop yield. Heat stress transcription factors (Hsfs) have been suggested to play a significant role in various stress responses. They are an integral part of the signal transduction pathways that operate in response to environmental stresses. Brassica oleracea is one of the agronomical important crop species which consists of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprout, kohlrabi and kale. The identification and roles of Hsfs in this important Brassica species are unknown. The availability of whole genome sequence of B. oleracea provides us an opportunity for performing in silico analysis of Hsf genes in B. oleracea. Thirty-five putative genes encoding Hsf proteins were identified and classified into A, B and C classes. Their evolution, physical location, gene structure, domain structure and tissue-specific expression patterns were investigated. Further, a comparative analysis of the Hsf gene family in B. oleracea, B. rapa and B. napus highlighted the role of hybridisation and allopolyploidy in the evolution of the largest known Hsf gene family in B. napus. The presence of orthologous gene clusters, found in Brassica species, but not in A. thaliana, suggested that polyploidisation has resulted in the formation of new Brassica-specific orthologous gene clusters. Gene duplication analysis indicated that the evolution of the Hsf gene family was under strong purifying selection in these Brassica species. High-level synteny was observed within the B. napus genome. Conservation of physical location, the similarity of structure and similar expression profiles between the B. napus Hsf genes and the corresponding genes from B. oleracea and B. rapa suggest a high functional similarity between these genes. This study paves the way for further investigation of Hsf genes in improving stress tolerance in B. oleracea. The genes thus identified may be useful for developing crop varieties resilient to the global climate change.

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Recently, the evaluation of spontaneous tail movement (STM) in zebrafish embryos has been proposed as a possible neurotoxicity marker in studies on behavioral changes due to chemical exposure. Currently, automated STM quantification can only be performed using high-cost commercial software. We have developed a simple and reliable MATLAB® script called ZebraSTM that allows the automatic analysis of STM in multiple zebrafish embryos.

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For dosimetry in radioligand therapy, the time-integrated activity coefficients (TIACs) for organs at risk and for tumour lesions have to be determined. The used sampling scheme affects the TIACs and therefore the calculated absorbed doses. The aim of this work was to develop a general and flexible method, which analyses numerous clinically applicable sampling schedules using true time-activity curves (TACs) of virtual patients.

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Transaction costs pose significant barriers to participation in public programs. We analyze how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application behavior was affected by iClaim, a 2009 innovation that streamlined the online application process. We use a difference-in-differences design to compare application rates before and after 2009 across counties with varying degrees of access to high-speed internet. We estimate that counties with internet connectivity one standard-deviation above the mean experienced a 1.6 percent increase in SSDI applications, and a 2.8 percent increase in appeals after the reform. We estimate that the increase in applications due to iClaim can explain 15 percent of the overall increase in applications between 2008 and 2011. Higher exposure to the online application led to a slightly larger increase in SSDI awards, meaning there was a small but significant increase in the overall award rate. Application rates increased the most in rural areas, while appeals and awards had more significant increases in urban areas. These results suggest that the online application reduced transaction costs to applicants, and the lower costs improved the overall targeting efficiency of the application process.

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This is a brief report on ASBMR 2018 held at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, focusing on basic research. Topics of ASBMR 2018 were varied among wide research fields, however, this report focuses on several topics because of spatio-temporal restriction of attendees. Also, the selected topics were very limited according to the author’s interests.

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Since patients with langerhans cell histiocytosis and neurologic dysfunction (LCH-ND) often have incomplete treatment responses we sought a new treatment regimen. Because of clinical benefit from rituximab in multiple sclerosis patients with neurodegeneration, we evaluated its use in patients with LCH-ND.

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Cervicogenic dizziness is a musculoskeletal disorder mainly characterized by dizziness associated with neck pain. The aim of this study was to assess the association between somatosensory, motor and psychological variables by levels of disability due to dizziness in patients with cervicogenic dizziness. A total of 64 patients were classified into two groups according to the presence of higher and lower levels of disability due to dizziness. The degree of disability due to dizziness, the magnitude of chronic pain, catastrophizing and kinesiophobia were evaluated by self-reports. The cervical active range of motion and the pressure pain thresholds were also assessed. The psychosocial variables showed significant differences. Higher values were found in the group with the highest level of disability due to dizziness (d = 0.80). Regarding motor variables, some differences were found in extension (d = 0.52) and in right rotation cervical movement (d = 0.90), with lower values in the group with greater disability due to dizziness. No differences were observed in the somatosensory variables (p > .05). In the group with lower levels of disability due to dizziness, negative associations were found with the range of cervical motion and positive associations were found with kinesiophobia. Our results suggest that levels of disability due to dizziness could be an important factor to consider in patients with cervicogenic dizziness. The influence of psychological factors and some ranges of cervical movement should be considered clinically.

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Investigation of the brain connectome using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and measures derived from graph theory analysis has emerged as a new approach to study brain development, cognitive function, and neurophysiological disorders. Here we use graph theory analysis to examine the influence of age, sex, and neurocognitive measures on developmental changes to the global and regional topology of functional brain networks derived from fMRI data recorded in 189 healthy subjects from the age of 0-18 years during rest. We observed that Global Efficiency and Rich-Club coefficient increased with age and Local Efficiency and Small-Worldness decreased with age, while Modularity at the global level showed an inverted U-shaped trajectory during development. Marginally significant differences were observed in Local Efficiency, Small-Worldness, and Modularity at a global level between boys and girls throughout development. We also examine the effects of neurocognitive measures in boys and girls globally and locally. Our results provide new insight to understand brain maturation of functional brain connectome and its relation to cognitive development from birth through adolescence.

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In the present work, the question how to obtain high quality laser diffraction (LD) results is discussed by investigating various hurdles that can be encountered during particle size measurements in wet dispersions and the associated data interpretation. Following this an effective troubleshooting is discussed based upon theoretical insight into the LD measurement. As an important element in the Mie theory, the refractive indices (RIs) of the model compounds, bedaquiline and cinnarizine, were quantified using the LD software, the Becke Line technique and the single solvent technique, as described by Saveyn et al.1 The influence of parameters such as obscuration level, background quality and fitting of data was investigated and a summative flow chart has been provided. Through this analysis the present work emphasizes the need for a systematic approach when conducting LD measurements, including standard performance of an obscuration titration and an extended method optimization, to reach high quality LD results.

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Convolutional neural networks have begun to surpass classical statistical- and atlas based machine learning techniques in medical image segmentation in recent years, proving to be superior in performance and speed. However, a major challenge that the community faces are mismatch between variability within training and evaluation datasets and therefore a dependency on proper data pre-processing. Intensity normalization is a widely applied technique for reducing the variance of the data for which there are several methods available ranging from uniformity transformation to histogram equalization. The current study analyses the influence of intensity normalization on cerebellum segmentation performance of a convolutional neural network (CNN).